The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney; middle grade fiction
Birney took the ordinary and made it extraordinary by writing this novel about a class pet from the hamster's point of view. You see, Humphrey isn't an ordinary hamster. He's learned to read and uses his tiny notebook and pencil that are hidden behind his mirror to write. When the kids speak to him, he tries to squeak back, but they just can't understand 'hamster'. Not only is the book funny and full of adventure, which will keep a reader's attention, but Birney brings a unique voice to all the characters and tells their stories brilliantly. There are more books in the Humphrey series and I'm thrilled to revisit these books now that my daughter is reading them.
Last weekend I attended Indiana SCBWI's autograph party and luncheon event at the library in Zionsville, Indiana. We ate a boxed lunch and listened to Peter Jacobi speak about writing. The event was a few hours long, but I could have listened to him talk all day!
Here's what I loved about Peter's lecture; he was inspirational. There are so many conferences where you listen to a speaker and the talk is all doom and gloom...how hard it is to write children's books, the state of the children's book market, and on and on. A serious writer knows all of this.
I found it refreshing to listen to a well-respected professional in the field tell us that we are warriors, brave, tolerating years of rejection as we hone our craft and still we don't give up. Thank you, Peter Jacobi, for understanding that we know the hardships of writing, and instead of dwelling on that, you gave us solid, useful information on the craft spoken from your heart, encouraging us to reach for excellence.
Here's a picture of our committee with Peter. I'm on the end, in blue jeans. Egads - I didn't plan to have my picture taken. Note to self; even if you're just attending an informal two hour event at a library, dress in slacks. Someone may want to take your picture.
|IN-SCBWI Steering Committee and Peter Jacobi|